Giano Lujan was a track maker. So are many other people, maybe tens of thousands in this scene. But unlike most of us, Giano seemed like he was born to do this. He had an preternatural feel for beats and vibes, particularly anything that veered in the direction of Latin House.
This is a good example of what I mean, a remix of his track “WSJD” remixed by Fred Everything and JT Donaldson on Fred’s Lazy Days Recordings, and “Rumba Papaya” from the same release:
We hadn’t heard from Giano for awhile. Sadly, friends are posting on Facebook that Giano (aka Ian) Lujan passed away last week.
Giano (who also released tracks as Mr. Patron) was probably best known for his edits and sample-based records, though I’m not sure that really represents what he was capable of. It’s just how people got known in the late ’00s and early ’10s.
Here’s another one Giano made (with Michael Knight) that shows a different side, which was included on Mark Farina‘s Mushroom Jazz Vol 7:
Giano’s name showed up constantly in playlists and tracklists of mixes people sent to us in the early-2010s — tracks that were frequently unreleased. That seemed to happen a lot. Giano sent them to other DJs, and some of those banged the living fuck out of them. Many of those tracks probably could never be released in a practical, “official” way. I can imagine that would be frustrating for an artist who is trying to eke out a living from music.
Derrick Carter wrote something beautiful about Giano, which I think is worth posting here. Not because he’s Derrick Carter saying it, but because of what he says:
The “acquisition” was the This Is House EP, released a little while after Derrick and Luke Solomon rekindled Classic under the Defected umbrella:
From a 1000 mile high view and based on his connections — this record for Derrick, one for Farina on Mushroom Jazz 7, the remixes for Colette and the story that Diz had brought Giano to Lazy Days — you would have thought Giano was from Chicago. Actually, I heard he relocated here a few years ago. But I never ran into him.
This Is House is likely going to be the track of Giano’s that most people share and what new listeners discover, given Defected’s outsized role in recorded music these days. There’s a lot more, but you’ll have to dig to get it, embedded in old mixes on broken MP3 players and wav files scraped by bots or found in old folders and uploaded for profit or a lark.
Shout out to this guy, who I remembered handed me one of his beautiful 12” eps Inside Toke at an afterhours house party in Fresno circa probably 2006. It was shocking to get something of that quality just handed out for the asking. Giano really represented the best and most creative side of the California Central Valley, which has always gone unsung but has always been in the center of the underground.
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